New York Knicks: Why Carmelo Anthony Doesn’t Deserve His Bad Reputation
Photo Credit: Bridget Samuels, Flickr.com
Originally written for Bleacher Report
Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks has established himself as one of the best scorers in the NBA. Along the way, he’s (unfairly) developed a reputation as a ball hog, ball-stopper, black hole or whatever negative connotation people like to use. It’s unwarranted and totally unfair and I’m going to show you why.
Keep in mind that Anthony is the New York Knicks superstar. He’s not a role player that comes in and throws the ball up every chance he gets. He’s expected to shoot the ball 20 times a game.
Don’t we want the best player on the court taking the most shots?
I’m not comparing the skill level of Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant to Carmelo Anthony, but looking at a couple of their stats will paint an important picture.
Jordan led the league in field goal attempts nine different times. For his career, he took 21.5 shots per-36 minutes while averaging 4.9 assists.
Bryant has led the league in field goal attempts five times, all in the last seven years. He averages 19.3 attempts per-36 minutes while averaging 4.6 assists.
Anthony has never led the league in attempts. He averages 19.2 attempts per-36 with 3.1 assists.
Who averages the most rebounds per-36 minutes between Jordan, Bryant and Anthony? You guessed it, the wrongly-accused selfish player.
Yes, his assist totals are less than the other guys but that’s to be expected. When Anthony gets the ball in his hands, it’s because the team wants and needs him to score. It’s not like he gets triple-teamed and puts up the shot anyways.
When Anthony gets into a one-on-one situation, he almost always has the advantage. He’s bigger and stronger than most of his defenders and is a much quicker leaper as well.
If you’ve got a big mismatch, isn’t it smart to exploit it? I’m sorry but if Mark Price is guarding Jordan, I’m going to be really upset if Jordan doesn’t get the ball and shoot every single time. That’s smart basketball, not selfish play.
Advanced metrics point to the big mismatches. 82games.com has some great numbers showing how efficient Anthony is compared to his counterpart.
When Anthony plays the power forward, he puts up a sparkling 29.5 PER while holding his opponent to just 12.8. He outscores them by 21.6 points per-48 minutes and averages 1.9 more assists.
The small forward numbers aren’t as drastic but show the same trend. His PER is 17.4 to his opponent’s 11.8 and he outscores them by 12.2 points with 2.4 more assists.
The bottom line is this. A ball hog or a ball-stopper is someone who hurts their team. It’s someone who puts up a shot or doesn’t pass and is making the wrong decision. That’s not who Anthony is. He’s the best player on the court and should be the one making the plays.
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